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Pakistan's prime minister broaches Taliban peace

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Pakistan's strategy in the war on terrorism took a dramatic turn on Saturday, when the country's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, announced that his government would seek peace with the Taliban. The announcement could confirm speculation by United States officials that the newly elected Pakistan government would reduce its military operations and possibly strain US-Pakistan relations.

The prime minister's announcement was reported in Pakistan's The Daily Times, a leading English language daily:

Yousaf Raza Gillani said on Saturday that fighting terrorism would be "his top priority and offered to hold talks with those militants who laid down their weapons.
"We are ready to talk to all those people who give up arms and are ready to embrace peace," Gillani told parliament, prompting loud support from lawmakers.

The Pakistani Taliban quickly lauded Mr. Gillani's offer, but bluntly warned against the Pakistani government's continued cooperation with the United States, says Dawn, another English language newspaper in Pakistan.

"Taliban are patriotic people and do not want to fight with their own government. We have waged jihad against America. But the country will suffer as long as Pakistan remains an ally of the US in the ongoing war on terror in the region," [Taliban leader] Maulvi Faqir said.

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